Support for EU “open door policy”

A positive evaluation of the European Commission strategy document on the EU enlargement
 
Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Petras Vaitiekūnas has positively evaluated the European Commission strategy document on the EU enlargement. As the Minister claimed “we agree with the Commission that we have to respect the obligations made for the countries seeking a membership in the European Union. The perspective of the membership in the EU is a strong impetus for these countries to continue the implementation of the necessary structural political and economic reforms. Consistent EU enlargement policy is a strong instrument of keeping peace, democracy and stability in the continent”[1].
 
Following the evaluation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the progress reports of the countries provided by the European Commission are rather comprehensive and objectively evaluating the preparation of the countries for the membership in the EU and the fields named by the European Commission as requiring progress and the indicated remaining problems will help the countries to continue the consistent preparation for the membership in the EU[2].
 
Lithuania strongly supports the further EU enlargement
 
The main points of the Lithuanian position on the EU enlargement are:

  •           Lithuania supports the EU “open door” politics. The perspective of the membership in the EU has to be provided to the EU European neighbours which have such a goal, which have the will to execute the reform programme and demonstrate the capabilities to implement the Copenhagen criteria of membership. The states have to correspond to the same criteria as during the previous waves of enlargement. Each candidate country should be evaluated separately.
  •           An important aspect of the EU enlargement policy is the institutional, political and financial capability of the EU to integrate the new member states.
  •           The EU enlargement policy and the provision of the European perspective to the countries seeking the membership is one of the instruments, which promote the spread of democratic values, respect for human rights, the rule of law and security in the region.
  •           The European Union is a community of citizens, therefore the support of the citizens of the EU member states for the further EU enlargements is essential. Informing society about the principles of the EU enlargement, process and outcomes is a significant condition of the success of this policy[3].

 
Kosovo case should not set a precedent
 
Speaking about the Kosovo case, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said he was happy that the European Union was ready to take responsibility and did not respect the attempts of the other states to block the solution of the Kosovo issue. As he declared, the veto of one state cannot prevent from solving complicated international issues[4]. The secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Žygimantas Pavilionis said that, “Kosovo is a test of our capability to act together on the international arena. We have to aspire for the transatlantic unity upon the Kosovo issue and state clearly that the case of Kosovo is unique”[5].
 
Lithuanian position on the Kosovo issue comprises the following points:

  •           Lithuania recognizes self-determina-tion of Kosovo;
  •           Lithuania recognizes the right of the EU member states to recognize the potential independence of Kosovo by the date acceptable for them;
  •           Lithuania supports the ESDP mission in Kosovo;
  •           The case of Kosovo is unique; therefore it cannot set a precedent for solving the other frozen conflicts[6].

 
The EU should send a positive signal to Serbia
 
Speaking about the Lithuanian position on Serbia and EU relations in the meeting of the General affairs and external relations council, Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Petras Vaitiekūnas urged to send a “positive signal” to Serbia about its European perspective. He encouraged his EU colleagues to sign a Stabilization and association agreement with this state. P. Vaitiekūnas also held a position, that the dialogue about the visas should be started with all Western Balkan states[7].

 


[1] Lietuva pritaria Europos Komisijos priimtam kasmetiniam dokumentui dėl Europos Sąjungos plėtros strategijos (Lithuania sustains the annual document on the strategy of the enlargement of the European Union adopted by the European Commission), press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 8, 2007, .

[2] Lietuva pritaria Europos Komisijos priimtam kasmetiniam dokumentui dėl Europos Sąjungos plėtros strategijos (Lithuania sustains the annual document on the strategy of the enlargement of the European Union adopted by the European Commission), press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 8, 2007, .

[3] The information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, .

[4] Lietuvos Respublikos Prezidentas: Europos Sąjunga turi išlaikyti vienodą politikos pagreitį ir Pietų, ir Rytų kaimynystėje (President of the Republic of Lithuania: European Union has to keep the same policy acceleration both in Southern, and Eastern neighbourhood), press release of the President institution, December 14, 2007, .

[5] The speech of the secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Žygimantas Pavilionis in the conference “Lisbon treaty – what next?”, January 17, 2008, .

[6] This position was presented by the Deputy director of the European Union department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sigitas Mitkus during the discussion organized by the Lithuanian Parliament European Club and Parliament European Information Office “Towards a wider European Union: the enlargement of the EU towards the Western Balkans” on January 25, 2008.

[7] Lietuvos UR ministras ragina Serbijai suteikti europines perspektyvas (Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister urges to provide Serbia the European perspectives), news agency Baltic News Service, January 29, 2008, .